THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police department has cancelled its controversial order removing experienced dog handlers in the canine squad and replacing them with freshers. The move, which was termed as partisan and part of corruption, had invited criticism and some of the handlers, who had undergone extensive training with leading paramilitary dog squads in the country, had approached the Kerala Administrative Tribunal against the move. It was following this the state police chief issued an order saying that handlers associated with dogs should remain with them till their decommissioning.
The department had last month issued an order replacing 30 experienced handlers with new faces. All the replacements were from the armed battalions and the new inductees did not possess the required experience nor underwent any full training course. Sources in the canine squad (K9) said there were allegations that the decision to replace the experienced handlers was taken with an ulterior motive.
“There was an allegation that some of the new inductees were forced to bribe to get the job. Also, the personal rivalry between certain officers also resulted in replacing veteran hands with fresh ones, who are wet behind their ears,” said sources. The department has close to 150 working dogs in the squad and each dog has got a main handler and an assistant handler.
“The handler and the dog reach a good rapport after working in tandem for several years. The handler after all these years of experience with the dog could understand its mood and behavioural pattern, which is key in cracking cases. The new decision was taken discounting this aspect. The officers should understand that dogs also have emotional attachment to their handlers,” said an existing handler of the squad.